CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2013-14 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Mikhail Grabovski
Age: 30 [turns 31 Jan. 31]
Ht/Wt: 5-11, 183
Penalty minutes: 26
Average Ice Time: 15:45
Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent on July 1 [$3 million cap hit in 2013-14]
Strengths: When he was healthy, Grabovski was a hard-working, defensively conscious centerman skilled enough to anchor the second line. His promising season took a wrong turn on Jan. 24 when he suffered a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss 22 of the next 23 games.
Weaknesses: If you look at this season compared to Grabovski’s last season in Toronto [nine goals, seven assists, minus-10] it was a resounding success. But compared to his career averages in the NHL, it was slightly less than you’d expect. If Grabovski played all 82 games he was on pace to finish with 18 goals and 49 points, five goals and two points fewer than he had two seasons ago in Toronto.
Memorable Moment: Talk about first impressions. In his Capitals’ regular season debut on Oct. 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks, Grabovski recorded a hat trick and a career-high four points. He became the first player in Capitals history to record a hat trick in a season opener, but it didn’t stop the Caps from blowing a late lead in their 6-4 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Quotable: ““We need to know what’s going on here and what’s going to be here. So we’re in a position to hold and wait and we’ll see what’s going to happen in the next month.” – Grabovski on returning to the Capitals next season
2014-15 Expectations: Grabovski says his wife enjoys Washington and that he would like to stay, but he’ll wait until a new coach is named before deciding whether to re-sign with the Caps or dive into the free agent pool, where he could land a long-term contract worth about $4 million a season. If the Maple Leafs decide to fire Randy Carlyle and replace him with a new coach, Grabovski could find himself back in his wife’s home province of Ontario.